Officials with the city of Franklin have received two complaints after they removed six historical markers on the Battle of Franklin Civil War battlefield site this past April.
Those markers recognize six Confederate generals who died during the battle in November 1864.
Rutherford County resident Elizabeth Coker, who filed one of the two complaints, told The Tennessee Star Wednesday that the markers date back to the late 19th century.
“Those were some of the first markers that go back to the 30th anniversary of the battle when General (Benjamin) Cheatham returned to the battlefield,” Coker said.
“But the markers did not take the form they had later until after an Eagle Scout project in 1964.”
Coker said she can document what she says.
Doug Jones, representing the Tennessee Division Sons of Confederate Veterans, filed the other complaint.
Tennessee Historical Commission Executive Director E. Patrick McIntyre, Jr. said the complaints he received pertain to the removal of several wooden posts — not historical markers — erected 20 years ago
“The posts were removed by the City of Franklin at the request of the City’s Battlefield Preservation Commission,” McIntyre told The Star in an emailed statement.
McIntyre sent an email on August 3, 2018 to Franklin Preservation Planner Amanda Rose and said the posts were likely erected after 1970.
“Furthermore, you have searched city records and consulted with a large number of residents, and it seems no one is sure how the posts got there,” McIntyre told Rose.
“There is no evidence that has been located that these posts were ‘lawfully created.’ Therefore, they do not appear to fall under the provisions of the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act.”
According to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s website, the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act prohibits the removal, relocation, or renaming of a memorial that is located on public property.
City of Franklin spokeswoman Milissa Reierson passed along a message from City Administrator Eric Stuckey. Stuckey said city officials removed the signs “after extensive study” by the City’s Civil War Historical Commission.
“Their removal was part of a broader effort by the Commission to review a wide variety of signage that had been placed over time with a goal of providing the public with the best, most accurate, and informative markers/signage about Franklin’s Civil War history,” Stuckey wrote.
Stuckey went on to say “the signs are confusing to citizens and tourists, as they do not include any educational or contextual information” and “the sign placement does not correspond to where the generals fell in battle or where they are buried.”
Coker, meanwhile, said the matter is headed to an administrative law judge.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “McGavock Confederate Cemetery” by Boggartslayer2. CC BY-SA 3.0..